Chris Morris cracked eight sixes in an unbeaten 82 off 32 balls for Delhi Daredevils but it wasn’t enough for them to win a fourth straight game in the IPL, losing to Gujarat Lions by one run in a thrilling contest in the Indian capital today.
It was a tale of two halves, in both innings, as Gujarat raced through to 110-0 from their first 10 overs after being asked to bat first, but lost 62-6 in the second 10.
In contrast, Delhi were 51 for 3 at the midway point of their reply, before Morris helped the hosts launch 120 from the final 10, but it wasn’t to be enough.
The win returns Gujarat to the top of the IPL table having won their fifth game in six, while Delhi are third, having suffered their first defeat in four.
The game got off to flying start as Gujarat openers Brendon McCullum (60 off 36 balls) and Dwayne Smith (53 off 30) both cracked quick-fire fifties.
Smith struck four boundaries, albeit three streakily edged down to third man, as 18 runs were scored from Zaheer Khan’s opening over.
Smith more emphatically powered a couple of sixes over the ropes in the next few overs as Gujarat raced through to fifty in four overs, the fastest team to fifty in the tournament.
McCullum cleared the boundary twice too, but only just with his first effort, Sanju Samson palming the ball over with his dropped catch at deep cover with McCullum on just two.
The former New Zealand skipper would make Delhi pay with a 27-ball fifty, while Smith reached his own half century in one ball fewer, bringing up the milestone with his third six.
Soon after though Smith was gone, out lbw to Imran Tahir (3-24), while Morris (2-35) impressed initially with the ball in hand, bowling McCullum and removing Suresh Raina for two in the same over, to further limit the Lions.
Gujarat struggled to regain their free-flowing run-scoring of their openers for the rest of their innings, with Tahir striking twice more and JP Duminy once, though James Faulkner did contribute a handy unbeaten 22 from 13.
Dhawal Kulkarni (3 for 19) took three wickets in his opening spell –– his first over a wicket-maiden –– accounting for Samson, the in-form Quinton de Kock, and Karun Nair as the Daredevils slumped to 16 for 3 in their first four overs.
Duminy (48 off 43) rebuilt, finally receiving some support from South African teammate Morris, who signalled his intent by cracking his third ball for six.
Back-to-back maximums from Morris off Pravin Tambe soon followed, before the Delhi allrounder went one better with three in a row off Smith, the second seeing him through to a 17-ball fifty.
With just 29 needed from the final three overs, Delhi were suddenly favourites, but Duminy perished to a Dwayne Bravo slower ball and Praveen Kumar bowled a terrific penultimate over costing just four runs.
It left 14 runs for Delhi to get from the final over, the first ball of which Morris smacked for four thanks to a Faulkner misfield, and despite some further poor fielding from Gujarat, they held on for a nail-biting one-run win.